Mississippi Death-Row Inmate Loses Retrial Bid

     JACKSON, Miss. (CN) – A Mississippi inmate on death row for murdering his estranged wife and sexually assaulting her daughter failed to convince the state’s Supreme Court that media coverage of his case swayed the jury.
     A Union County jury handed down a death sentence to David Cox, 44, for the 2010 shooting death of Kim Cox. The man held his estranged wife hostage along with her 12 year-old daughter and their 7-year-old child for more than eight hours before she bled to death from her gunshot wounds.
     The court on Thursday rejected Cox’s effort to have his death sentence thrown out. He claimed the sentencing should have been moved out of the rural Mississippi county where his estranged wife’s family of law enforcement officers is well-known.
     According to the June 25 ruling, Cox spent nine months in jail prior to the murder after his estranged wife reported to police that he had raped her daughter.
     Once released on bail, Cox located his estranged wife at her sister’s home and the night of terror began.
     “Cox communicated with police throughout the night and early morning,” the opinion says. “Through those communications, police learned that Cox had shot Kim twice, once in the arm and once in the abdomen, between 7:00 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. During the ordeal, Cox communicated with hostage negotiators, Kim’s father and stepmother, and members of Cox’s family. The last confirmation that Kim was still alive was at 12:45 a.m. on May 15. While Kim lay dying, Cox sexually assaulted L.K. in Kim’s presence on three separate occasions.”
     Cox repeatedly threatened to kill both children if law enforcement entered and refused to release their fatally wounded mother “because he wanted her to die.”
     “Cox never released Kim for medical care, satisfying his depraved desire to see Kim suffer and die mercilessly,” Justice Michael Randolph wrote for the majority. “After negotiation attempts failed, a SWAT team entered the home at 3:23 a.m. Cox was taken into custody, L.K. and D.C. were removed from the scene, and Kim was found dead, having bled out as a result of the abdominal gunshot wound.”
     Cox offered the court four newspapers articles written about the crime in 2010 and an affidavit from one witness, all of which was insufficient to support a change of venue, the majority said.
     Justices James Kitchens and Leslie King disagreed with the majority opinion, writing that Cox deserved a new trial based on his change of venue request “in this notorious case, which involved a law enforcement family in a small, rural Mississippi community.”
     “The present case involves a heinous capital murder in a county with a small population,” Kitchens wrote. “I find no imaginable reason for this motion for change of venue to have been denied.”
     There are currently 47 inmates on Mississippi’s death row, including one female.

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